During this time of the year, many people are setting new goals and businesses are looking at what they want to accomplish in the new year. Putting pen to paper in order to write down your goals for 2018 is a great way to get started but it should not stop there. Goal setting takes more than just jotting down what you want to do. Think through what you want to accomplish and what it will take to get you there.
These tips can help you set meaningful goals that you can accomplish:
- Think about where you have been. What were you goals in 2017 and did you accomplish them? It is important to be honest with ourselves about what we have accomplished in the past and how that may shape the future.
- Define goals that you can influence. In order to work to achieve your goals, they have to be things that you can accomplish and not dependent on someone else. We may need help from other people to achieve our goals but they should not be solely dependent on someone else.
- A common tool for setting goals is to make them S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-sensitive).
- Specific: Goals are no place to waffle. They are no place to be vague. Ambiguous goals produce ambiguous results. Incomplete goals produce incomplete futures.
- Measurable: Always set goals that are measurable. I would say "specifically measurable” to take into account our principle of being specific.
- Attainable: One of the detrimental things that many people do—with good intentions—is setting goals that are so high that they are unattainable.
- Realistic: The root word of realistic is "real.” A goal has to be something that we can reasonably make "real” or a "reality” in our lives. There are some goals that are simply not realistic. You have to be able to say, even if it is a tremendously stretching goal, that yes, indeed, it is entirely realistic—that you could make it. You may even have to say that it will take x, y and z to do it, but if those happen, then it can be done. This is in no way to say it shouldn’t be a big goal, but it must be realistic.
- Time: Every goal should have a timeframe attached to it. One of the powerful aspects of a great goal is that it has an end—a time in which you are shooting to accomplish it. As time goes by, you work on it because you don’t want to get behind, and you work diligently because you want to meet the deadline. You may even have to break down a big goal into different parts of measurement and timeframes—that is OK. Set smaller goals and work them out in their own time. A S.M.A.R.T. goal has a timeline
- Dream big! The saying "shoot for the moon, if you miss you will still land among the stars” can be relatable for setting goals. If you aim big, even if you do not accomplish everything you set out to do, the result can still be positive.
As you plan your 2018 year and think about the goals you want to set for yourself and/or your business, take some time to write them down, evaluate where you have been, and set expectations. Remember to adjust and re-evaluate as you go through the year. Goal setting should not be an activity reserved for January alone.
One Team. One Vision. One Goal. – Everyone Goes Home Safe!